A Polish lunch that’ll clean out your fridge


Whether your child is in a growth spurt or you just need a meal to satisfy you longer than the 20 minutes it takes to eat it, Polish comfort food is the answer. We ate ours back on December 23rd, three hours before locking up the house and flying to spend 11 days with more than a dozen family members (First stop: Cape Charles Virginia, to see one of my brothers and sisters, and their kids. Second stop: Martinsburg, West Viriginia for our cousin’s wedding and most of Keith’s family).

In large part, this hurried meal was the kind of “cleaning out the fridge” and “pantry upkeep” situation I engage in every time I travel. It started because the potatoes threatened to grow legs and walk off while we were away.  In the fridge, I had a link of kielbasa sausage and package of fresh sauerkraut with imminent expiration dates, plus some carrots and Brussels sprouts that I just knew would be despondent upon our return.

I pan-fried the vegetables and sausage while the potatoes boiled. As the components came together on our trays I realized this is very Polish. So, for good measure, I added some pickles, apple sauce, and apple cider. And there you have it. Polish comfort food. (Later, when turbulence and a thunderclap less than a mile from the plane kept our flight attendants from passing out snacks and drinks, I was able to focus on fear instead of fear and hunger.)

Notes and Tips:

  • Try serving your Brussels sprouts with dill and sour cream – this is very traditional in Poland.
  • The Brussels sprouts are also very good fried with the kielbasa (I kept them separate s0 my little vegetarian could enjoy them – she got tofu instead of kielbasa). If you have other veggies, feel free to add them (onion would be really good).
  • Instead of potatoes, try pierogi.
  • Leftovers can go straight into the freezer for another time. The night we got back I chopped them up and added them to lentils to make soup – even the sauerkraut. It was great!
  • For more Polish recipe ideas and cultural info, check out some of our other Polish posts.
  • Watch out for cider thieves!

Ava's Around the World LunchesAbout around the World Lunches

Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this regular column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!


  1. Well, I must say I like it very much. I like that you chose apple cider, since we (Polish people in Poland) have started mass production and mass consumption rather recently. The only news for me are traditional, according to you, brussel sprouts with cream and apple sauce. Where did you get that from? Of course, it is hard to say sometimes what traditional is in such a country as Poland, where people are mixed (wars pushed people around) and we were under influence of many countries (whether we liked it or not), but being very traditional, especially about sauerkraut and pierogi, we are also very open for new staff.

    • Sasha Martin says

      The Brussels sprouts with sour cream and dill seems to a popular recipe found under the name “Polish Brussels sprouts” (perhaps it’s just a Polish way to garnish them!)

      Love hearing from you Ola – your feedback is great!

      • Kacper says

        Would not say that it is Polish. Have never seen Brussel sprouts with sour cream.

        • Kacper says

          I know what you mean! We use baby cabbage for that but single cream not sour cream. Try it this way! It must taste completely different 🙂

  2. I love your blog. I’m doing something similar but eating at restaurants from around the world here in London. Or at least I’m trying to. 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      LOVE it Jaklien – what a great challenge – I’d love to hear more about how that’s going.

  3. I love this meal idea! Me and my family also travel quite often and I know the situation of preparing a meal from the last products left in the fridge. I know that cleaning the fridge means that a new meal idea will be born. 🙂 I clean my fridge every time before travel! 🙂 Thank you for the lovely post! 🙂

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